Last April, Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov, who had exposed corruption in the construction of a highway linking Moscow to St. Petersburg, died of injuries sustained in a brutal beating he had received years earlier.
Beketov’s case made international headlines, but it was hardly an isolated episode in Russia, where a growing climate of repression of investigative journalism has left many reporters with a difficult choice between self-censorship and doing their job at serious personal risk.
Journalists exposing corruption or implicating authorities in their critical reporting have been particularly targeted. With notable exceptions, this has led to a timid press, particularly surrounding controversial topics such as the country’s preparations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, where abuse has been widespread but relatively underreported.
Photo: Mikhail Metzel/AP